A Brief History of the Luau

In its broadest sense, a luau is a traditional Hawaiian party mixing local food and lots of entertainment. Luaus are used to celebrate the many of stages of life. People often don’t remember their first luau. No, it’s not because they drank too many mai tais. People don’t remember because their first luau is often a celebration of their own first birthday! Traditional luaus are often common for Sweet 16 birthdays, graduations and weddings.

For visitors, a luau is often less personal, but maybe even more culturally important. Often, a visitor’s first luau is their introduction to native food and dance. Attendees are able to sample local foods like kalua pig buried and roasted overnight in the beach, freshly pounded poi (taro root), purple Hawaiian sweet potatoes, poke and haupia (a coconut-based dessert). Most modern luaus combine Polynesian dances and traditions into their shows. The traditional Hawaiian hula is a beautiful, slow dance. But for the modern luaus catering to visitors and locals looking for a lively celebration, we’ve come to expect dancing with quick hip undulations and fire. These forms of dance come from outside of Hawaii, but are still relevant to the Polynesian culture.

To learn about the history of the modern luau, we need to go back nearly 200 years. Prior to 1819, for large feasts (not yet called a luau), men sat separately from the women and children, and some celebratory dishes, like pork, moi (a reef fish) and bananas were only eaten by the chiefs. The common dishes for all to enjoy included other types of fish, sweet potatoes and poi. However, in 1819 King Kamehameha II started openly eating with women, thus breaking century’s old taboo of separate meal celebrations. It was during the king’s large gatherings with men, women and children that the term “luau” was first used for special meal events.

King Kamehameha’s luaus soon became legendary. The saying “enough to feed a king” is definitely apropos to his 1847 luau that featured 271 hogs, 1,820 fish and 2,245 coconuts! Years later, another king, King Kalakaua, for his 50th birthday, invited more that 1,500 people for a luau so large, the attendees were fed in three shifts.

Today, modern luaus are still about the food, dance and celebration. One can find public luaus all over the state of Hawaii. We’ve put together a list of our five favorite luaus on Maui if you need help deciding on which one attend. Luaus are still a great way to celebrate and learn about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture.

A Brief History of the Shaka sign

The shaka sign, made with the thumb and pinkie up, and the three middle fingers curled into a fist, then lightly shaken, is ubiquitous in Hawaii. Locals use it as a sign of solidarity and friendship. It can be used to say “howzit? (how’s it going?)” or “thanks” or “hello” or “hang loose.” Most associate it with Hawai’i but some believe it’s roots began in California.

Here in Hawai’i, when attempting to seek the origins of the shaka, no one can definitively say where it came from. There are a few different origin stories that revolve around a “man” missing his three middle fingers. Some believe it began with a surfer who lost his three middle fingers to a shark. Another story is that a young man lost his fingers while throwing dynamite into the ocean. Still another variation is that a man in the 1960’s lost his fingers in an industrial accident and was known by all his neighbors, including the mayor. When the mayor was running for re-election, he adopted the man’s missing-digit wave while he campaigned.

Finally, one story that seems to be catching steam as the definitive truth involves a man named Hamana Kalili. Kalili lost three fingers to a sugar cane feeder. Once he lost his fingers, he could no longer work in the mill so he became a security guard. Part of his duties included overseeing the train that carried away the sugar cane. When kids would try to sneak onto the train, they would give the “all clear” sign to their friends by mocking Kalili’s fingerless wave. Charming!

So, if that solves the mystery of how the shaka came into existence, the next question is, where does the name “shaka” come from? In the 1960’s, local TV personality David “Lippy” Espinda ended his TV car commercials with “shaka, brah!” Most believe this is the origin of the name. But, even this is in dispute.

Remember that mayor that purportedly co-opted the sign from this fingerless neighbor? Well his name was Frank Fasi (1920-2010) and he credited the late boxing promoter Bill Pacheco for flashing the sign and saying “shaka brother.” Others believe the word “shaka” is derived from the name of a Buddha, Shakyamuni, who pressed his hands together in the shapes of the shaka. Another belief is that shaka is an amalgamation of “shark eye,” a compliment given to friends and relatives. The true origin of the name “shaka” may never be known.

No matter where the shaka sign came from and how it was named, shakas are a part of every day life here in Hawai’i. If someone flashes you a shaka, don’t hesitate to send one right back!

Mission Blue Names the Olowalu Reef a ‘Hope Spot’

Among a large number of marine life, some of the oldest (over 300-years-old) coral in the state of Hawaii finds its home right here in Maui. Olowalu reef, spanning over 1,000 acres, is reportedly the largest and most developed of the Valley Isle. At the heart of the island, the reef’s location has made it a popular spawning ground and has become a crucial part of populating reefs around not only Maui but islands Molokai and Lanai as well. Due to the current condition of this marine hub, Oluwalu has been recently designated as a Mission Blue Hope Spot, earmarking it for enhanced protection.

At Hawaii Ocean Project, we could not be more excited about this news; but what contributed to this new classification and conservation effort? Recent coral bleaching events and decades of plantation run off have become the most evident culprits and have drastically taken their toll on the area. Tropical rains that run down the mountains bring soil of the once sugar cane-covered slopes into the ocean, turning the Olowalu waters to a “chocolate brown”. Along with smothering the coral, the sediment also reduces the amount of required sunlight that the coral needs to grow.

Even with the environmental impacts that are currently affecting the area, life still stirs in the sparkling blue waters just off Olowalu. Even though half of the reef has been lost, there is still a significant amount remaining. This has the conservation community along with residents hopeful that this new designation will bring not only awareness but also support to get our oceans healthy!

Malama Ka Aina (respect the land) is a core value here in Hawaii and extends to the deep blue that surrounds the island chain. So if you happen to find yourself on our Molokini snorkel trip or Lanai snorkel tour, we hope that the overwhelming beauty of the underwater world, as well as the island itself, will inspire you to join the conservation efforts and take steps towards maintaining as well as helping the planet heal.

A Brief History of Halloween in Lahaina

The annual Halloween celebration in Lahaina has been called the “Mardi Gras of the Pacific.” When day turns to night, with traffic blocked off, Front Street is transformed into Maui’s biggest adult party of they year. But, lets go back to the beginning.

The first “official” celebration of Halloween on Front Street took place in 1989. By 2007, Halloween easily became the biggest day of the year in Lahaina. Crowds were estimated to be between 20,000 – 30,000 people. Though never verified, it was thought that Halloween alone pumped $3 million into the local economy.

Back then, the evening started with a keiki (children’s) parade. Seeing the kids in their costumes was the big highlight for a lot people. As darkness set in, the crowd and the vibe of the event went from family fun to an alcohol-fueled mega-party. Unlike New Orleans, you weren’t allowed to drink alcohol on the streets. Still, blocking the streets from cars, led to a constant parade of barely clad men and women roaming Front Street.

Considering it an affront to Hawaiian culture, a group of cultural advisors asked local authorities to shut the party down. And in 2008, it did. The county no longer sanctioned the keiki parade, the costume contests, and most importantly, it left Front Street open to automobile traffic. In doing so, the county hoped to curtail the rowdiness. It was effective. Maybe too effective, as local business suffered a sharp downturn in revenue.

By 2011, Maui County was still feeling the effects of the downturn in tourism due to the ongoing recession. So the LahainaTown Action Committee and the Office of Economic Development relit the fuse on the Halloween party. Once again, the keiki parade led off the event, and as dusk settled the adults came out to play.

Today, the Keiki Costume Parade kicks off the annual Halloween celebration at 4:30 PM. The parade ends on the stage at Banyan Tree Park, where the children receive a ribbon and goodie bag. From there, the party rolls down the street to Campbell Park for live music. Once the sun goes down, it’s back to Banyan Tree Park, for more live entertainment and a costume contest for adults. Many of the bars and restaurants along Front Street host their own Halloween parties and costume and contests.

Though it hasn’t reached those peak, early-2000’s attendance numbers, the party is still the biggest of the year in Lahaina. If you’re attending this year, have fun and be safe!

Classic Hawaiian Cookbooks – HOP to it

Sam Choy, Beverly Gannon, Peter Merriman, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, five of the original 12 members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, all have signature cookbooks. Like their restaurants, the books still hold up today. For many people, it isn’t a trip to Hawai’i without visiting one of their dining locations. What follows is a quick synopsis of their most popular cookbooks. If you want to take a piece of Hawaii home with you, you might as well take the piece that lives inside your belly! All of these books are available from Amazon, with the exception of the Merriman book, for which you’ll need to swing by one of his restaurants or order directly from his website. The cookbooks below are listed chronologically. Bon appetit!

“With Sam Choy: Cooking from the Heart” – Sam Choy, Evelyn Cook (1995)
“With Sam Choy: Cooking from the Heart” tells the story of Sam Choy, one of the main faces and personalities behind the Hawaiian food revolution of the early ’90s, through his recipes and words. Often called the “Godfather of Poke,” his engaging, out-sized personality shows through in the food descriptions and when he’s “talking story” throughout the book. In fact, there are personal stories for nearly every one of the 130 recipes. Whether the story is about the inspiration behind the recipe or why he would present the dish in a certain fashion, it’s these little anecdotes that make reading the book a real pleasure.

Chef Choy has one Big Island restaurant: Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai

“Roy’s Feasts from Hawaii” – Roy Yamaguchi and John Harrison (1995)
With over 150 recipes, Roy Yamaguchi steps out from the kitchen and shares the secrets behind his award-winning dishes. It’s a beautiful book containing lots of pictures and wonderful recipes. Along the way, he slowly tells the story of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine through each recipe. At first glance, the recipes can seem overwhelming due to the sheer number ingredients, but a deeper read shows that most home cooks, regardless of their skill level in the kitchen, can follow along with a majority of the recipes.

Chef Yamaguchi’s restaurants in Hawai’i:
Maui: Roy’s Ka’anapali
Big Island: Roy’s Waikola
Oahu: Roy’s Hawaii Kai, Roy’s Ko Olina, Roy’s Turtle Bay, Roy’s Waikiki

“New Wave Luau” – Alan Wong and John Harrison (1999)
Probably the most adventurous of the five chefs whose books we’re looking at for this article, Wong masterfully blends classic recipes with a playful whimsy to create foods that will bring smiles and winks from your dinner guests. The kalbi short rib tacos with papaya-red onion salsa is nothing short of breathtaking and quite easy to make. The book is filled with wonderful recipe intros and lots of pictures. The recipes themselves are well-written and easy to follow.

Chef Wong’s restaurants: Alan Wong’s Honolulu; Alan Wong’s Shanghai

Hali’imaile General Store Cookbook” – Beverly Gannon and Bonnie Friedman (2000)
After a nice intro about her family, the restaurant’s neighborhood and the restaurant itself, chef/restauranteur Beverly Gannon breaks the cookbook into seasons, starting with spring and ending, naturally, in winter. Along the way, the recipes are well laid out, easy to follow and there are plenty of photos. Hali’imaile General Store is one of the most popular and well-reviewed restaurants on Maui. If you loved eating here, you’ll be thrilled to recreate the signature dishes (minus, sadly, the crab dip) at home.

Chef Gannon’s Maui restaurants: Gannon’s (Wailea); Hali’imaile General Store (Makawao)

“Merriman’s Hawai’i” – Peter Merriman and Melanie P. Merriman (2015)
Starting with an intro by renowned chef Peter Bayless, “Merriman’s Hawai’i” covers 75 recipes over 262 pages. There are gorgeous pictures for every recipe. Even better, reading this book is like taking a culinary tour of the Big Island. As you’re reading, you’ll meet local artisans who supply the “farm” portion of his farm-to-table culinary ethic. Maybe because it’s the most recently published, this book is the sharpest looking and most interesting read of the five cookbooks in this article.

Chef Merriman’s restaurants:
Maui: Merrimans (Kapalua), Hula Grill (Ka’anapali), Monkeypod (Wailea), Monkeypod (Ka’anapali opening Fall, 2017)
Big Island: Merriman’s (Waimea)
Kauai: Merriman’s (Poipu), Gourmet Pizza and Burgers by Merriman (Poipu)
Oahu: Moku Kitchen (Honolulu), Monkeypod (Ko Olina)

Do you have a favorite Hawai’ian food-based cookbook? Tell us on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

A Brief History of Poke in Hawaii

Poke (pronounced poh-kay, rhymes with okay) literally means “to cut crosswise into pieces.” It’s a simple dish made of chopped seafood, generally tuna, marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, and mixed with onion. But, you’ll find many variations of this when you visit poke shops and grocery stores around Hawai’i. Octopus (tako) and mussels are two common options, and spicing it up with wasabi and/or kimchee are also popular variations.

It’s believed that poke was first prepared by native Polynesians centuries before Western travelers arrived on the islands. Initially, it was made with raw reef fish, seasoned with sea salt and seaweed, and combined with crushed candlenut. Salting of the fish was for both flavor and more importantly, preserving the fish.

Most historians agree that it wasn’t until the 1960’s and ’70s, that the name “poke” was given to the dish we currently recognize as poke. The naming of poke coincided with ahi tuna becoming more readily available. Ahi’s bright pink hue was far more aesthetically pleasing than dull, grey reef fish and it tasted better. Chef Sam Choy, one of the early purveyors of the Hawai’i Regional Cuisine movement of the early ’90s, was instrumental in bringing poke to the masses. In 1991, he launched his first poke contest, featuring poke recipes from across the state. The contest showed chefs and home cooks just how inventive they could be with poke. The contest is still an annual event held in March.

Today, Hawai’i’s beloved poke can be found across the country and around the world. While it a may be a food “trend” to some, it’s a part of the lifestyle here in Hawai’i, and is served everywhere from football tailgates to high-end weddings. If you want to try poke on Maui, check out our Best Poke in Grocery Stores and Shops guide.

Underwater Drones Expand Ocean Exploration

The Hawaiian islands represent one of the most biologically diverse locations on the planet. The marine life throughout our archipelago is spectacular, as you’ll find on our Lanai and Molokini snorkel tours. But a lot of the most fascinating and mysterious creatures live at depths that are difficult to reach, or mostly inaccessible to humans. What if a new technology made these aquatic wonderlands easier to explore and therefore understand? There is one such technology, and depending on its level of success, the world could be in for a deluge of discoveries!

While you may be familiar with flying drones that are used for photography, filming, and even parcel delivery, you may not know that there are underwater drones as well, thanks to the OpenROV (remotely operated vehicles) project. These drones allow us a look at the underwater world from remote locations, and they have led to some big strides in science and conservation.

The technology was developed by National Geographic Emerging Explorer David Lang through his OpenROV project, which helps both scientists and interested citizens examine the marine life and conditions beneath the surface. Lang’s goal was to accelerate marine discoveries by allowing people access to cameras on ROVs. You’ve probably heard it said that we know more about the moons of other planets in our solar systems than we do about the depths of our own ocean. That’s still true, according to scientists, but Lang’s ROVs may prove to be the best way to change all of that.

Recently, his project got enough grant money to distribute 1,000 units of its newest drone, a model known as the Trident. The units will be distributed by OpenExplorer, a companion site for the project. These free drones will go to citizen scientists, non profit organizations and classrooms. The drones that are already out being used in the world’s oceans have led to some interesting efforts. National Geographic has highlighted the top five.


1. Watching for changes along California’s coast

Folks are volunteering at Pelican Cove on the Palos Verdes Peninsula to photograph sea creatures in the area, and plan to use the Trident drones to track any changes in the location of these sea creatures. They’ll be keeping an eye out for changes in sea level, temperature and acidity to explain the changes. Pelican Cove is part of a marine protected area, so citizens are especially interested in the health of the ecosystem there.

2. Safeguarding fish stocks in the Mexican Caribbean

A conservation group known as COBI will be using the Trident to educate fishermen on the status of fish populations. They’re currently identifying spawning sites for grouper and snapper in the Caribbean to curb overfishing. They’re also training local fishermen how to dive to evaluate the fisheries themselves, but the Trident will let them reach more difficult depths in their explorations. It’s all part of an effort to keep fishing sustainable.

3. Saving an underwater world in British Columbia

Off the coast of British Columbia in Howe Sound, scientists have found an ancient ecosystem of glass sponges that were once thought to be extinct. National Geographic Explorer Erika Bergman is leading a team to study these reefs using drones and manned submarines. If successful, she and her team will make the Salish Sea area a UNESCO World Heritage site, preventing further damage to a magnificent ecosystem full of these rare sponges and their neighbors, which include octopus, anemones, cod, rockfish, sharks and much more.

4. Aiding “robomussels” in New England

A team from Acadia National Park is monitoring the Gulf of Maine for ocean acidification and warming. They’re doing this by placing tiny temperature loggers inside live mussels to track conditions. The Trident will help them get visuals on the conditions off their coastline, which they will share with students to inspire them about ocean health, conservation and science.

5. Unlocking the secrets of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea is known to harbor countless shipwrecks from far back in the history of civilization. A Swiss nonprofit known as the Octopus Foundation is planning to chart the depths of this sea and explore whatever wrecks have withstood the elements over the years. They estimate there are about 750,000 antiquated wrecks down in those depths. It could be a high estimate… but it’s more likely a low one. The organization uses storytelling to share the history of these places and historical events.


Lucky for us, and for you, plenty of Hawaii’s reefs are accessible in pleasantly warm temperatures so you can go out exploring in person. Join us aboard a Molokini or Lanai Snorkel Tour and you’ll see these marine wonders yourself! In the meantime, if you’re interested in new marine discoveries, maybe keep an eye open for news about OpenROV’s for some interesting reports. Mahalo!

10 Reasons We Love Living in Hawai’i

The #luckywelivehawaii hashtag exists for a reason. Whether you live in Hawaii or are just visiting, here are 10 reasons happiness happens in Hawaii.

  1. The weather— It never really gets too hot or too cold. When it does get too hot, the trade winds come in to save the day.
  2. The ocean— No matter where you are, you’re just a short car ride away from the majestic Pacific Ocean.
  3. The beaches— This goes hand-in-hand with the ocean. Our beaches are clean, pristine and offer various types of terrain, from white sandy beaches to black lava beaches to red sand beaches, we have it all.
  4. The food— Poke, malasadas, loco moco, chow fun, shave ice. OK, our food may not be the most healthy, but it sure is ono (tasty.)
  5. The sunsets— Every night nature puts on a show that produces some of the most beautiful images you’ll ever see. Even locals who have spent their entire lives here gaze in awe at the sunsets.
  6. The rainbows— Yes, rainbows happen. A lot. And like the sunsets, we never get tired of them.
  7. The turtles— Our ocean has an abundance of turtles. On some beaches, there are more turtles than humans. And we love every one of them.
  8. The hiking— Look around you. Somewhere in your field of vision is probably a place to hike. Whether you’re seeking waterfalls (another thing to be grateful about,) windmills, or once-in-a-lifetime views, great hiking is available near you.
  9. The history— The Hawaiian Islands have a unique history and culture. It’s a history to be proud of and embraced.
  10. The people— People come from all over the world to live in and visit Hawaii. Most of the people here are chill, friendly and happy. Maybe that’s because of the first nine items on this list!

What is it about Hawai’i that makes you happy? Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

The History of Lahaina Harbor

As you may or may not know, our Maui ocean tours operate out of Lahaina Harbor, just a block from Front Street with all its shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Then there are the museums, and many historic sites that you might walk past without even noticing. But if you look closely and take the time to wonder at its past, you’ll make some interesting discoveries. Lahaina is an interesting place to visit, and to work, especially considering the many dramatic phases of its history.

It’s common knowledge among residents that Lahaina was once the capital city of Hawaii, having been conquered by King Kamehameha the great in 1795. Lahaina means “cruel sun” in the Hawaiian language, reflecting the heat and low rainfall of the area. It gets less than 13 inches of rain a year. In a fateful decision by Kamehameha III in 1845, the capital city was moved to Honolulu. We can only imagine what Lahaina would look like today, had that change never been made. Envisioning Lahaina as a bustling metropolis would be grim for most of us. For a number of reasons, however, Lahaina was the busiest port in Hawaii for many years in the 1800’s.

In that century, whale fat was rendered into oil that fueled lamps. Hawaii’s whale population was exploited for that purpose. Today, the waters off Maui’s south and western shores are where migrating humpbacks are found in their greatest number. Assuming this was equally true in the days of whaling, Lahaina was in a perfect position for whalers to take advantage, although they tended to focus their hunting on sperm whales, which can also be found in Hawaiian waters. With the robust whale population in its surrounding waters, Lahaina came to be considered the whaling capital of the world. Thankfully, the practice has long since been banned, and humpbacks continue to return to their winter breeding grounds every year, arriving as early as October and leaving as late as May. Now, the Lahaina Harbor is home to charters like ours that have the privilege of taking guests out on Maui whale watching tours.

During the whaling years, sailors commonly came into conflict with the Christian missionaries who had established themselves in Lahaina. At one point, a whaleship even opened fire on the town because of these conflicts. In response to the violence, including several riots, the Royal Governor of Maui, Hoapili, initiated the construction of the Old Lahaina Fort in 1831. Just months before her death, Queen Kaʻahumanu came to support its construction with her influence, and the fort was completed within a month. It boasted 20-foot walls and 47 cannons. It was demolished in 1854, and replaced by a courthouse, which remains to this day, maintained by the Lahaina Arts Council and the Lahaina Historic Society. Although the fort was demolished, a portion of it was reconstructed in 1964. You’ll find it across the street from the current Lahaina Harbor.

Another one of Lahaina’s historic features that remains today is the Lahaina Lighthouse, although it has been modified and updated over the years. It was originally commissioned by Kamehameha III, the same king who moved the capital of Hawaii to Honolulu, if you’ll remember. The lighthouse was built in 1840, standing at just 9 feet tall, and was first lit on November 4th with a lamp fed by the same whale oil harvested off its shore. Its date of construction made it the first navigation aid in Hawaii, and the first lighthouse in the whole US Pacific. By 1866, its height was increased to 26 feet, and its fuel changed to kerosene. When Hawaii was annexed by the US, the lighthouse was reconstructed at 55 feet tall and outfitted with a fresnel lens in 1905. By 1937, it had switched to electric power. Today, it is maintained by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

The lighthouse, the courthouse, and the restored portion of the fort are all visible from Lahaina Harbor. If you book one of our Maui ocean activities, you’ll likely spot them when you arrive. Seeing historic sites like these can make a trip to Maui even more memorable, especially if you enjoy learning about history. Mahalo!

Rare Hawaii Forest Bird Regains Lost Hawaiian Name

As a Maui ocean tour company, it's not every day that we blog about an animal that's not aquatic. Then again, it's not every day that an animal's lost Hawaiian name is found, but that's exactly what happened to the Hawai'i Creeper (Loxops mana). This rare forest bird that lives in the koa forest of the Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve had no known Hawaiian name for about a century, until a tenacious researcher rediscovered it.

The name the researcher found was ʻAlawī. The researcher, was Noah Gomes, a Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park cultural practitioner and recent graduate of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Having earned a masters degree in Hawaiian language and literature, Gomes was armed with the foundation he needed to explore some of the earliest documented Hawaiian literature to find reference to this beautiful and rare forest bird.

Determined to find an answer, Gomes spent his time sifting through various historical documents, including old Hawaiian newspaper articles. When he had gathered enough clues pointing to the name ʻAlawī, he published a thesis on it, and the name was approved by the Hawaiian Lexicon Committee on February 25, 2017. Following that, a story of his research appeared in the Elepaio journal in the May-June 2017 issue.

To celebrate and spread awareness about the discovery in true Hawaiian fashion, a naming ceremony was recently held by Gomes and two of his associates. In response to the discovery, the following is a quote from Emma Yuen, the Native Ecosystems Program Manager with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

“Rediscovering the traditional name of the ‘Alawī strengthens the close relationship of Hawaiian culture with our native plants and animals. This celebration fills us with pride and a sense of kuleana to protect native forests – the home of these unique creatures, and the source of inspiration, beauty, and cultural identity.”

So, what stands out about this diminutive little forest bird? Being similar in appearance to the Amakihi, the small yellow and green ‘Alawī had often been confused with its relative. What set it apart enough to make it recognizable as a different species was its behavior, which included a preference for preying on insects in koa forests. But what's especially charming about the ‘Alawī is the fact that it's so curious, it often approaches humans in the forest. Bird watchers and ‘Alawī seem to find each other equally interesting, although the duration of that interest is generally shorter for the bird. After all, survival puts pressure on a bird's schedule.

‘Alawī is one of the four endangered forest birds found exclusively on the Big Island of Hawaii. Like many other native Hawaiian birds, its once broad territory is now restricted to higher elevation rainforests that are too cold for mosquitos, which carry avian malaria. The ‘Alawī can be found in the 18,730-acre Pu‘u Maka‘ala NAR.

While no one can say with absolute certainty that ʻAlawī is Loxops mana, the supporting evidence is unusually substantial. There are very few other birds that match the same description of ʻAlawī. In any case, both scientists and Hawaiian cultural practitioners have embraced Gomes' compelling research and the name ʻAlawī for Loxops mana.

Seeing as we specialize in Maui ocean tours and know that there are some native Hawaiian aquatic species with unknown Hawaiian names, it's easy to wonder if Gomes will turn his gaze on the ocean and make some more discoveries. More than one success of this magnitude is a lot to ask for, but we can always hope! Mahalo!